ROCKFORD (WREX) — What looks like an unassuming industrial building from the outside is far from the case when you walk inside.
Nestled in the heart of the historic Benson Stone Company is HearthRock Café.
"I stepped through the doors and I went, 'oh my god how charming is this place,'" says the restaurant's head chef and general manager Todd Cooper.
Cooper has been running the spot for five years, but the restaurant has been a hidden gem well before his time there.
"It's been in existence for quite sometime, its kind of one of those secrets that a lot of people don't know about."
When he took over, he revamped the menu and started adding daily specials along side their homemade breakfast, lunch and fresh-baked goods.
Last year, when the pandemic hit, that was a turning point for Cooper.
He says there was a lot of uncertainty about what the café was going to do.
"We didn't know what was going on, how are we going to reopen, when are things going to reopen," says Cooper. "There was a little bit of fear going on in the beginning during the first shutdown, just general public fear."
After months of changing with the tides, Cooper says things are slowly evolving into a new normal. Fresh faces and old regulars alike are once again walking through the doors
"You see these people every day and then when you don't see them for a year, they come in and its almost like a family reunion," says Cooper.
That reunion bringing in much needed business.
"There's days where you're just like will the phone stop ringing but then at the same time you're like thank god the phone is ringing."
Ringing off the hook for a quick, delicious, affordable stop in the heart of Rockford.
HearthRock Café is open for breakfast and lunch Monday through Friday for dine-in and carry-out from 7:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. and on Saturdays from 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.